U.S. Organic Product Sales Near $70 Billion; All-Organic Trade Show to Debut in 2025 in Atlanta

Is it true that the growth rate in sales of certified organic bananas is now outpacing that of conventional bananas? According to the Organic Trade Association (OTA), the answer is yes.

In fact, among an ever-expanding sea of certification seals in the retail sector, and despite inflation, the “Certified Organic” label continues to stand out for consumers who prioritize health, sustainability, and clean-label products. So much so that U.S. sales of certified organic products grew 3.4% in 2023 to $69.7 billion, marking a new record for sales in the organic products industry.

According to the OTA, which conducted the 2024 Organic Industry Survey in collaboration with Nutrition Business Journal, organic food sales in 2023 totaled $63.8 billion, and sales of organic non-food products reached $5.9 billion, with organic personal care products reporting the strongest increase in that category, with growth of 7% in 2023.

On the food side, fresh organic produce continues to dominate as the primary entry point for consumers, who are increasingly knowledgeable about the “Dirty Dozen” — those fruits and vegetables the Environmental Working Group has determined to contain the most synthetic pesticide residues. In 2023, sales of organic produce grew 2.6% to $20.5 billion. The top sellers included avocados, berries, apples, carrots and packaged salads. OTA also noted that, indeed, in 2023, organic bananas recorded greater sales growth than non-organic bananas.

Organic Baby Food Drives Growth in Grocery
The second biggest selling category in the organic sector in 2023 was grocery, comprising breads and grains, condiments, and packaged and prepared foods. Among a diverse group of sub-categories in grocery, three stood out as top performers: in-store bakery and fresh breads, with sales of $3.1 billion and growth of 3%; dry breakfast products, which were up 8% to $1.8 billion in sales; and organic baby food and formula, up an impressive 11% to record $1.5 billion in sales in 2023.

According to the OTA survey, 2023 also saw a surge in functional and non-alcoholic beverages, which helped drive beverages as the third largest category in organics, posting growth of 3.9% and sales of $9.4 billion. In addition to the emergence of organic “mocktails,” organic wine sales were up 2.5% to $377 million, and organic liquor and cocktails showed strength as an emerging category with growth of 13% and sales of $59 million in 2023.

Organic dairy and eggs, the fourth-largest category in the organic food market, based on OTA’s survey, is another entry point for consumers who want clean, ethical sources of protein with lower environmental impacts. In 2023, organic dairy and egg sales were up 5.5%, totaling $8.2 billion. According to OTA, organic dairy and eggs now account for more than 8% of all dairy and egg sales. Milk and cream sales were up nearly 5% to $4.2 billion. Also, the organic dairy alternative category grew almost 14% in 2023 to approximately $700 million. 

Leading among organic non-food items were organic supplements, tracking 4% growth and sales of $2.1 billion in 2023. Organic fiber remains the largest segment of U.S. organic non-food product sales, representing 40%, or $2.4 billion, of non-food category sales. According to OTA, growth in organic fiber sales was essentially flat year over year, due to restricted supply chain issues more than lack of buyer interest.

Price Gap Is Narrowing Between Conventional and Organic
According to OTA Co-CEOs Matthew Dillon and Tom Chapman, the increase in overall dollar sales in the organic market in 2023 was driven more by price increases than unit sales as the organic industry recalibrated its supply chain and dealt with retail price increases as necessary. However, they pointed out, consumers increased their purchases of many organic products, and unit sales were up for nearly 40% of the products tracked in this year’s survey.

In addition, the survey indicated that prices for many non-organic products climbed at a faster rate than organic products, meaning that the price gap is narrowing between conventional and organic, which, says OTA, should fuel growth for organic products in the coming year.

“It is encouraging to see that organic is growing at basically the same rate as the total market. In the face of inflation and considering organic is already seen as a premium category, the current growth shows that consumers continue to choose organic amidst economic challenges and price increases. Although organic is now a maturing sector in the marketplace, we still have plenty of room to grow,” said Tom Chapman.

Matthew Dillon added that to achieve this growth, “It is essential to educate consumers that choosing organic is a straightforward way to tackle some of the greatest challenges we face. Whether it’s accessing healthy foods, improving transparency in supply chains, mitigating climate change, supporting rural economic resilience, protecting natural resources, or realizing the multitude of other benefits, effectively communicating, and delivering on these promises is the key to expanding organic’s share of our dinner plate.”

The future for organic is not without its challenges. However, Chapman and Dillon assert that more consumers are aware of the potential health benefits associated with organic foods. Many consumers, too, especially the Millennial and Gen Z generations, they point out, are increasingly conscious of the ethical implications of their food choices. They are looking for products that align with their values, such as animal welfare, fair trade, and support for organic farmers. That means seeking out products with the USDA certified organic seal on the label.

OTA Members can download the full report here. A summary is available here.

Dedicated All-Organic U.S. Trade Show Announced
Since 1991, people from all over the world have attended, BioFach, the world’s only dedicated, all-organic trade show, held each year in Nuremberg, Germany. Now, targeting the world’s largest market for organic products, the producer of BioFach has announced it will host its first standalone, all-organic trade show in the U.S.

Dubbed BioFach America, the event will take place on June 2nd to 4th, 2025, in Atlanta, Georgia.

“With BioFach America, we will host a purely organic trade show in the U.S. The whole organic value chain will be covered: from organic farming to retail,” said NürnbergMesse, producer of the event. According to the producer, every product presented at BioFach America must be USDA certified organic or carry an organic certification from an IFOAM Organics International accredited organization. For cosmetics, certifications such as COSMOS or Ecocert, are accepted.

In an interview with Organic Insider, Bill Ingwersen, CEO of NürnbergMesse North America, said, “BioFach America always had a presence, or section, at Natural Products Expo East, and last year in Philadelphia, we brought in 47 companies from around the world. With that show being canceled, it forced us to really ask the question: are people getting what they need at other shows or is there a true need for an organic one? We concluded that there was, in fact, a real need for a dedicated, all-organic platform in the U.S.”

When asked why Atlanta was chosen as the location for the inaugural event, Ingwersen told Organic Insider, “Since this is a U.S. show and not a regional one, people will have to travel, regardless of which city we chose. After many conversations with industry executives, it became clear that we had to make it an affordable show for everyone, including farmers. Atlanta has the world’s largest airport, has an ample supply of low-cost hotel rooms and is a very energetic, accessible city that has great infrastructure. In addition, it can support our growth as we move forward. Also, being able to serve an organic lunch to our attendees was a real hot button topic. All the catering coming out of the Atlanta Convention Center will be organic for the show, and if a city could not guarantee this, that was an immediate disqualification.”

Learn more about BioFach America here.

Steven Hoffman is Managing Director of Compass Natural, providing public relations, brand marketing, social media and strategic business development services to natural, organic, sustainable and hemp/CBD products businesses. Contact steve@compassnaturalmarketing.com.